I wore all my kids in various slings and baby carriers when they were little, and I'm very glad I did, especially when I had more than one and needed my hands free.
But as much as I understand the benefits of babywearing, it wasn't until I had my fourth baby who didn't really love being worn that I could have used the break.
Is that being selfish? I used to think so. Now I'm pretty sure it's just being smart.
I'm not any sort of attachment parenting advocate. I loved my stroller and used it as much as I could. But I do believe that babywearing is an awesome help to moms and dads who are juggling a million things. Whether it's sleep or gas or whatever else that makes babies cry, being close to their parents can really soothe them.
I've seen it work firsthand and it truly is amazing.
That said, I think it's easy to go overboard. Trust me, I totally did.
At first, you're trying to alleviate whatever's bothering your baby. But then it just gets easier to carry them than it is to listen to them cry or fuss when you put them down.
Like you, I imagine, it was really hard when my kids were upset for any reason, but especially when it was over something I knew I could easily remedy.
Pick them up and the crying stops.
I'm certainly not in the "spoil the baby" camp that seems to think if you carry babies too much, they get used to it and that's all they want. I don't think you can ever give a baby too much love.
But I do think that if babywearing interferes with your own happiness, with your own ability to catch your breath and rest your back and shoulders, then it's okay to put the baby down.
I had no idea that babies would usually stop fussing or crying pretty quickly. Sure, even 20 seconds seems like a really long time when your little one is upset, but then she'd stop and I'd feel like a whole new woman. I could shower. I could eat sitting down. I could do chores without lugging around an extra 20 pounds.
Like anything else when it comes to parenting, I really believe moderation is key. Not just for the baby but for parents as well. I don't swing completely toward crying it out, and I certainly don't feel like parents should always be carrying or, heck, even sleeping with their kids all the time. I think it's healthy for kids to fuss.
So if you're not able to find any peace during the day, if your body is aching, and if you just feel like you need a break, it's okay to put the baby down.
Those minutes or hours can make a huge difference. If there's any motto I try to remember, it's "happy parent, happy child." It certainly rings true with so many parenting issues -- including babywearing.
How do you feel about babywearing?
Image via alleexm/Flickr